Extreme risks at island hospital
A DAMNING report listing ‘‘ extreme risks’’ to patient and staff safety at a Torres Strait hospital had been completed for nearly two months before repair work started.
The leaked report on the Thursday Island Hospital, headed ‘‘ Critical issues – Extreme Risks’’, details a long list of probl ems i dentified as of January 7, 2011.
The report said persiste n t wat e r l e a k s h a d closed the region’s only operating theatre and shut the only birthing f a c i l i t y wi t h c e r t a i n specialist capabilities.
A failure of the emergency call system was also ‘‘ severely compromising p a t i e nt s a f e t y ’ ’ , wit h n u r s e s a n d p a t i e n t s given hand bells and told to use phones to call for emergency help for three months.
A failure of the air conditioning meant extreme heat and humidity were putting staff and acutely ill patients under stress.
Health Minister Geoff Wilson said, despite the report being prepared in January, r epairs had been under way for only ‘‘ about a week or so’’.
O p p o s i t i o n L e a d e r John-Paul Langbroek, who released the report, said the government had broken a promise to improve facilities in the Torres Strait.